NELLYSFORD, VA - Kentucky recently became the first state to adopt the Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) Passport and Credential Program as the state-wide certification program for students enrolled in wood manufacturing programs at its five area high schools and the state’s only technical college.
The WCA is actively working with other states to embrace the program that promotes woodworking careers by giving woodworkers an opportunity to earn credits for skills that they learn.
Scott Nelson, president of the WCA, said he is working with nine states that have expressed interest in adopting the WCA Credential Program. “Now that I have a template of how to work with state governments and industry, I can adapt it to other states. There is no one-size-fits all," Nelson said, "however, there is a process for working throughout the country to complete implementation of the WCA Skill Standards Program that began only five years ago. This new development is a prime example of individuals, associations, education, and industry working together for the future of fine woodworking in America."
AWI Chief Learning Officer Greg Heuer said a hands-on training session held May 24 at the Green County Technical Center in Greensburg, KY, "also served as a focus group to help the WCA improve support for student achievements as well as add more tools and operations to the ever-growing Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards.” The training session was attended by four high school and one community college wood manufacturing teachers.
In another recent development, Nelson said the WCA Candidate Management System, a cloud-based online registry of the permanent record for each WCA Passport holder, has been completed. "The registry is a key factor in maintaining a North American database of all students and employees who demonstrate their woodwork manufacturing skills," Nelson said. Participating woodworkers can access their records to print or e-mail their "transcript" to employers or prospective employers."
“Having an industry certification enhances the health of school wood manufacturing programs and helps the schools qualify for additional federal and other funding," Heuer said. "The students benefit not only by having industry credentials as they enter the workforce, but also by being rewarded for their achievements as woodworkers. Local woodworking firms look to these highly developed programs for entry level employees with the skills they need to be productive from day one.”
To learn more about the WCA and the WCA Passport and Credential Program, visit woodworkcareer.org.
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